RAF Sailing Association Offshore Racing Team raced in the ‘Nab Tower’ event on Saturday on board RAFSA Yacht “Red Arrow”. This was a 35 mile race across the Solent as part of the national ‘Junior Offshore Group’ series of races. After the crew had a very early start transiting to the start line at Cowes, the wind was much lighter than forecast at 1-12 knots and they were blessed with sunny spells which occasionally stopped them from shivering. The Team had a great start just to leeward of a competitor yacht “Just So” and punched out ahead of the fleet into clean wind. “Red Arrow” dropped out of the top 5 on for the majority of the race, leaving others far behind in what was a highly competitive class. The boat speed was consistently 0.5 knots over the predicted rate, the boat felt very quick with the crew working hard! Rounded Nab Tower and hoisted the new RAF100 spinnaker for the downwind run. The team pushed through the yachts that started prior to them and soon found their way to the front of everyone along with the rest of the top 5 in class 4.
Just as Red Arrow approached the Horse Sands and No Mans Fort gate the wind shut down to just 1 knot allowing the fleet to concertina. “Just So” gybed out about 100 meters in front of Red Arrow and went to the north side of the Solent, albeit slowly. “Just So” was now being swept down tide, side on.
Painfully the wind filled back in on the north side first allowing “Just So” and followers to eat up the last 8 miles whilst Red Arrow drifted. Had a fantastic gybing duel however with another competitor “Jybe Talkin’” all the way up the south side in the last 2 miles until they got a spinnaker wrap and dropped back and ended up suffering from an exploding kite halyard! A great race for the team despite the wind reducing.
RAFSA Yacht Red Arrow races every weekend in both inshore and offshore races. The next offshore event sees the team racing overnight to Northern France. New members are very welcome. Contact RAFSA_Racing@outlook.com
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